Mutual trust helped Texas Ranger get his man
Rookie lawman says he was 'honest, open' with suspect's family
July 14, 1999
HOUSTON (CNN) -- Suspected of murder and hunted for months by police, Rafael Resendez-Ramirez turned himself in because he -- and his family -- trusted a lone lawman.
For weeks, Sgt. Drew Carter of the Texas Rangers had been building a relationship with the Mexican-born man's relatives, hoping to convince them that Resendez-Ramirez should surrender.
"The dialog that was carried on between his family and myself, and relayed back to him, was very honest, very open," Carter told CNN on Wednesday.
"I guess he felt like the information that his family was providing (convinced him) it was best he turn himself in, and that's what he did," the Texas Ranger said in Houston, wearing the traditional hero's white hat.
'We shook hands, and then I handcuffed him'
Carter's hard work and personal touch paid off Tuesday when the 39-year-old drifter, one of the FBI's 10 Most Wanted, quietly gave up his life on the run.
The hunter and the hunted finally met on a remote bridge connecting Zaragosa, Mexico, with El Paso, Texas. Carter immediately recognized Resendez-Ramirez as he rode across the bridge in the passenger seat of a white pickup truck driven across the border by his brother.
First, there were pleasantries.
"He stuck out his hand, I stuck out my hand and we shook hands, and then I handcuffed him and he was in custody," Carter told reporters afterward.
Carter had been fishing in the Gulf of Mexico when he got a call Sunday from Resendez-Ramirez's sister, Manuela Maturino of Albuquerque, New Mexico. He dropped his fishing pole and jumped on a plane.
Over the next two days, the rookie member of Texas' most elite law enforcement agency brokered negotiations that led to one of the most high-profile arrests in Rangers history.
Resendez-Ramirez is suspected of committing five murders in Texas, two in Illinois and one in Kentucky, and is wanted for questioning in as many as 14 other killings from Miami to Phoenix and Detroit, sources have told CNN.
Trust was a 'two-way street'
A key in Resendez-Ramirez's surrender was the acceptance of several conditions: The fugitive wanted an assurance of his safety while in jail, regular visiting rights and a psychological evaluation.
Harris County District Attorney John Holmes faxed the agreement to Albuquerque, where Maturino passed the offer on to a relative in Mexico on Monday. Before long, she was calling Carter.
The trust that developed between Carter and the suspect's family during the negotiations was "a two-way street," Carter said. "They had to gain my trust as well.
"It was a mutual bond of trust that was developed over a period of time that led to (the surrender)," he told CNN.
Carter said he'll remain in touch with the family, seeing to it "that the promises that were made on my end are carried out to the best of my ability."
'They love their brother'
Texas officials said the peaceful surrender could not have occurred if not for the relationship Carter cultivated with the suspect's sister.
But Carter, who became a ranger on September 1, rejected sole credit for the arrest, citing assistance from the FBI, U.S. marshals and other agencies.
He also paid tribute to the suspect's family.
"They love their brother and their relative and they care for him deeply, but at the same time they have been cooperative in this investigation and are doing what they feel is the right thing," Carter said.
"I will say that there were very personal one-on-one discussions with family members representing the subject and myself and other people that brought this about," he said.
Correspondent Jennifer Auther contributed to this report, written by Jim Morris.
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